Tension gripped parts of Jalaun district in Uttar Pradesh after locals found what seemed to be body parts of about 100 cows on Friday, police and officials said.
As the news spread, Bajrang Dal activists and BJP leaders staged a protest in Muhauri village, close to where the animal remains were found in the district’s Kudaura block. State police officials said police reinforcements had been rushed to the region “to ensure communal harmony”.
“Prima facie, it looks like people involved in cow slaughtering to sell its flesh are involved. We have formed special teams to identify the criminals and arrest them,” additional director general of police (law and order) Daljeet Chawdhary said, adding that he expected arrests to be made in a day or two.
The officer said police also held talks with villagers in the vicinity to ensure the atmosphere does not turn hostile. Despite several round of talks with police officers, the protest continued late into Friday evening.
The remains included heads and intestines in quantities that suggested there could have been 70-100 cows killed, according to a senior Jalaun district police official.
Cows, whose slaughter is banned in the state, are an electioneering code word and a rallying cry for both Hindu nationalists and their opponents across India.
“The police are conducting raids on the basis of leads available. We will take tough action against these people who have killed the cows. So also we will maintain law and order and no one will be allowed to disturb it”, Jalaun district magistrate Ram Ganesh said.
The police had a tough time in controlling Bajrang Dal activists who were also joined by locals.
Senior police officers had rushed to the site and were trying to pacify the agitators.